Lucious Locales

A Trip Back To The Future!

An old CNN contact of mine, Latok Neumann, has been a busy busy bee for the last few months. As an avid fan of the amazing Back To The Future films she (and a group of her friends) have been recreating the iconic town square of Hill Valley in 2015, complete with Jaws 19 at the movie theatre…
Hill Valley 2015_005

The Cafe 80’s…
Hill Valley 2015_009

The ultra cool Texaco garage!
Hill Valley 2015_004

Goldie Wilson posters…
Hill Valley 2015_002

And even the antique shop next to the cafe… that book looks familiar…
Hill Valley 2015_008

The crowning glory of this really amazing fan-built site is the town hall, complete with lightning damaged clock!
Hill Valley 2015_007

Hill Valley 2015_012

The whole place smacks of fun and a real joy in the films – get along and take a look yourself 😀
Hill Valley 2015_014

TP over to this SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/bakabots/200/100/30/

Dropping in on friends

I was exploring the Pompinio volcano the other day (post on that to come 🙂 ) and I realised I was really close to Bodega where three of my favourite people in the world live so I decided to pop over and see how their houses were doing.

My first stop was Young’s wonderfully elegant (you should expect nothing less) builds on her land – being a very clever sort, Young made these in some 3D software and did a lovely job of the textures giving them a warm, sun-hugged feel that you just don’t see enough of in-world. See them yourself here.
Young Geoffrion's Land in Bodega

From there it was but a very short hop across to Enjah’s amazing (and huge!) hollowed out treehouse. Enjha used to live above her art gallery in Davenport, but a while back she moved the gallery to the Grignano region of Nova Albion city and built her home in a massive tree in Bodega. Take a look here.
Enjah's Treehouse in Bodega

From Enjah’s tree, I took a walk further into Bodega to where Osprey has her rather amazing ‘home’. I say home, but it’s so much more – it’s her gallery, her costume shop, her wildlife reserve, her therma-vent, her gorgeous slice of old Sansara. Explore it here.
Osprey's Place in Bodega

I’m blessed – I know some really talented and friendly folk in SL and I’m lucky enough to call these three my friends 🙂

A Trippy Tree House

An LM? Someone sent me a landmark? “Come,” it invited “and bear witness to Nish’s Star Shine!”(1) Always a lover of mysterious invites, I checked and donned my backpack and teleported over.

With the sound of a thousand ducks quacking in silence, I popped out of the strange third-space that enables teleportation and immediately felt the wind on my fur; cool and clear. I was high. I sniffed the air. About 450m high, thereabouts. I was in a large roundhouse with a conical roof. The doorway was wide and open with a beautiful tree growing next to it. I stood beneath its bows and gazed down at the world beneath me – and the view was stunning. Directly below me was Kekekabic(2) and all around stretched the continent of Sansara with snowy mountains to the west and an inland sea to the east, its waters darkening as evening gave way to twilight.
Nish's Star Shine

Nish's Star Shine

Nish's Star Shine

Nish's Star Shine

I moved back inside the hut where there were only two things to catch my eye. One was a sign from Nish encouraging me to “Jump in the fire and be Reborn!” and the other was a hole cut into the floor in front of the sign in which flames flickered and twittered.
Nish's Star Shine

Nish's Star Shine

What could I do but dive in?

I fell and fell and fell…
Nish's Star Shine

Through darkness and cold until…
Nish's Star Shine

I emerged into a universe of colour and motion and sound!
Postcard from Second Life.

Pure grid energy exploded around me, spinning and dancing about me. A singularity continually recycling and renewing it, pulling it in and spewing it out anew. A globe passed close by and before I knew it I was as one with it. I found myself meditating and at peace.
Nish's Star Shine

I closed my eyes and felt the world around me slipping away. When I opened them again, I was adrift on a calm, blue ocean.
HBA Floating

Had it all been a dream? Did the floating treehouse and its trippy secret really exist? And most importantly of all, where was I and how would I get back? NISSSSSH!

Fin. Quack.
**********

(1) I paraphrase…

(2) Also the home of Nish’s Explorer’s Cafe and shop – see my previous post here.

SL Places: A Trip To London

I’ve been meaning to go for a while but a busy RL and SL have put paid to my explorations of late meaning that London has remained at the top on my ‘To Do’ list for ages and ages. Every day Janey writes something new that makes me want to go and explore, so last week I was grateful that a sudden opening in my RL diary gave me the chance to do just that!

London is a collection of five sims that each represent a different area of the real London: Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Mayfair, Kensington and Hyde Park. I started my journey in Kensington where I took Frank past the DMGT building where Janey works.
Janey's Office in Kensington

The Greyhound boozer

From the there (via the Greyhound Pub) we headed to what looks rather like Harrods, stopping only to relax by an underground sign as a red open top bus rumbled past to take a picture that just screamed “Tourist!” to all around 🙂
London - Harrods-like

London - London to the max!

We trotted past the free parachuting area near Marble Arch and headed over to the Serpentine…
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/headburroantfarm/2720019495/&#8221; title=”London – Marble Arch skydiving! by HeadBurro Antfarm,

… where Frank munched the grass a little as I tried my best not to fall in the water like a plank!
London - Diving into the Serpentine

After a few tries, I managed a great dive and had a lovely long swim. Frank just looked up every now and then to make sue I hadn’t drowned before moving on to another tasty patch of clover. Tsk! Horses, eh?
London - Diving into the Serpentine

London - Diving into the Serpentine

London - Swimming in the Serpentine

Eventually, after a nasty worrying by a couple of swans, I got out and let the sun dry my fur as we moved off to see Big Ben. And by God and By Harry is it big!
London - Big Ben

I was joined by Douglas and Stef (old friends both) and we all went up to the bell room and clock chamber to explore this lovely build.
London - Big Ben

London - Inside Big Ben

London - Big Ben

The views across London were very impressive (worth ramping your draw distance and graphic options up for)… and watch out for the bus that flies by as part of the free tours system set up by the owners 😀
London from inside Big Ben

London - Flying Bus!

London - way above Big Ben

Yours in Travel,
HeadBurro Antfarm
****************

p.s. There are tons of great shops too, and a popular nightclub called the Underground, but you know me Burroites, I don’t do shopping and dancing unless I have to. Still, if they are your thing, you’ll love London even more!

p.p.s. There are always loads of things going on, like limo-driven shopping days and treasure hunts – stay in touch with the news by joining their group, ‘London England’.

Useful links:
**********
1) Direct SLURL to Knightsbridge in London
2) The London Blog
3) Janey’s Blog

TSMGO: A Titanic Show Ahead!

How happy was I to get a note from Os reminding me to accept a group offer from none other than the lovely Monet Fitzgerald of Waverly Yacht Club? Very! Monet had been a wonderful help to me when I arranged a surprise party for my top mate Janey way back in March and it turns out that TSMGO is booked for a fundraiser (the Race for Life event) in her Titanic build. I’ve wanted to see this ever since Janey reported on it for CNN iReport and I’m not disappointed! It it huge! Good work, Monet!
Monet's Titanic Build

SL Machinima: Starting The Second Project

My last (and first) film was, as I mentioned, not my first choice or idea. My first idea was very different but I only had snatches of it in my head – images, really. I toyed with them for a while, trying to find a hook, trying to expand it, but I was always held back by lack of technical know-how and the fact I was to be working entirely on my own. It was as I pondered this for the double plus umpteenth time that the film which was to become The Missing Saloon of Oak Grove popped into my head almost in its entirety. But I have made that one now. It is done and I need to move on. And so I find myself returning to my original idea.

I’m a little more knowledgeable now. I have a better handle on what can be done and what can’t be done. I have the tools in place and a slightly-better-than-basic grasp of them. It is time to move on to my second film.

I’m still aiming for a short run time – about 5 to 7 mins – and I still think I’ll be working alone so the story telling will have to be unambiguous, but really I’m going for visual impact anyhoo so I think I’ll be ok. This one will be gritty and urban, dark and fast. Again I have images, only this time there is a narrative stringing them together. In this way, this feels to me more like a music video than a film, but I see nothing wrong in that – sometimes the story leads, other times the visuals.

This time I’ll be editing on Sony Vegas 8 (basic Movie Studio edition rather than Platinum or Pro). I’ve downloaded the free 30 day trail to see if I like it. Why did I change from VideoSpin? Simple really – VideoSpin only gives 1 video track and 2 audio and I found that quite limiting even for a simple film like “The Missing Saloon…”. To be fair, that is not what the program is intended for and I still think it is a lovely, simple fun thing to use, but it is meant for stitching home movies together, or making fun videos for YouTube or mobile phones and not for making complex movies. OK, so why not upgrade it to Pinnacle’s Studio 12? Well, I so nearly did, but I couldn’t find anywhere how many video and audio tracks it supported until I stumbled across some gripes on a forum about it ‘still only having 2’. Sony Vegas Home has 4 (so does the Platinum whereas the Pro is unlimited but costs £400+). It was a no-brainer from then on really.

My first task has been to write down a brief outline of what is going to happen, but the idea is so simple that it was very, very brief. I tried to make some storyboard sketches but found I was blocked by not knowing what the filming location was going to be like. What to do? Why find my location, of course!

A few months ago (maybe many – I am losing my sense of time as my RL-as-responsible-new-parent and SL-as-escaping-new-parent blend and merge) I entered Osprey’s photo contest called City Streets. I searched for ages and ages for a decent city to take some snaps in and it was hard work to locate one. Of course, you are reading this reeling of half-a-dozen names off at the screen but back then I was on the old laptop and it was hard to find nice places where I could see past 96 (or sometimes 64) meters so cities were often no-go areas for me. Anyhoo, I found one and even did quite well in the contest, but on my travels I came across the rather gorgeous build of Suffugium*, a futuristic dystopian build with some lovely touches of warmth and humour. So I’ve returned and it looks perfect for what I want. Dark streets, narrow alleys, high roofs… lovely…

I suppose I better get on with scouting for locations for shots so I can storyboard this thing 🙂

Yours,
Cecil B DeBurro 😉
**************

* IIRC, I had come across it once before after reading about it in NWN.

Bay City Parade

I know you will know by now (how could you not!) that Bay City is open. Salazar, Osprey and Enjah (Nova Albionians all) organised a parade from Miramare over the water into Bay City and through the streets of the new city. Loads of people turned up, some I knew well, some I’d only recently met (Hi Nica!) and some I’d never met before – it was great to see so many happy people having a great time together and I’m only sorry I didn’t get to speak to more folks before I had to go at the end 🙂

Here are some of the shots I managed to take:

Here all are at the start in Miramare
Bay City Parade

Bay City Parade

Yikes! Douglas the Dino!
Bay City Parade

Janey on Colin 🙂
Bay City Parade

Sal and Alba – the new Little and Large?
Bay City Parade

The Show Must Go contingent (Lucy hadn’t arrived when I took this – sorry mate!)
Bay City Parade

Marianne turned up with loads of kids
Bay City Parade

Nica was here for the horned community 🙂
Bay City Parade

Off we go!
Bay City Parade

We faced many dangers… from dodgy bridges…
Bay City Parade

…to floating heffalumps…
Bay City Parade

…to killer trams (I took a shot of Doug munching it up good, but it never arrived at flickr 😦 )
Bay City Parade

But we bravely carried on through the streets…
Bay City Parade

Until we reached the bowling alley at the end!
Bay City Parade

Bay City Parade

Where Doug looked at us all with a hungry glint in his eye…
Bay City Parade

Eeeek!

p.s. Other blogs mentioning the parade:
Janey
Osprey
Enjah
Tina

SL Places: Ambat Infohub

My mate Osprey Therian is a very talented lady. Anyone who knows her knows this is true, but for someone like me who hasn’t really known her for very long, the sheer scale of what she has done in SL is amazing. Hell, half of what she has done has gone and I’ll never get to see them (/me thinks of the bizarre roadside attractions inspired by the curios often found along the forgotten highways of America – think “The World’s Biggest Potato” or “America’s Largest Furball”).

Hers is one of the few blogs I not only read every day but have traveled back in time and read too – her stories from There always tempt me to open an account and I’ve put my name down for beta in Twinity because of what she has said about it. Over the course of the last few months, her blog has been a revelation to me as to the extent of her creations and some weeks ago a nice missive she received from someone in-world thanking her for her work on an infohub led me to promise myself I’d go along and take a peek at this creation.

I feel a word or two on infohubs might be apposite, especially if you, like me, came post-late 05/early 06 and missed all the infohub kafuffle. Back in the day* when direct teleporting to anywhere wasn’t possible**, the Lindens introduced telehubs. For one reason and another, the ability to teleport anywhere being key of course, these were removed and replaced with infohubs that were built by residents who bid for the work (I’m not sure if this was paid or not – it doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this post, please concentrate and stop interrupting). Osprey must have won a bid*** because she ended up designing the infohub in Ambat, a sim I’ve never been to… well, until now that is 🙂

I dropped into Ambat (which I found wasn’t too far from my usual haunts in Sansara, the first continent – it’s times like that I realise just how impossible a job it is to explore all of SL because it is so huge) and had to zoom my camera around to find the infohub. I wasn’t expecting to see it up on a small hill and the views it had of the surrounding sims were amazing.

Ambat 1

I’d recognise Ospery’s tents anywhere and the infohub boasted two of the beauties along with covered infobooths and rugs for folks to relax on.

Ambat 2

Ambat 5

Throughout the small area are traces of her humour, often rooted in the very early days of SL such as the Hippo Helper and the free Hippo book which contains the (so far) only quote from the legendary Spike Milligan I’ve ever seen in-world.

Ambat 3

Ambat 4

Ambat 6

If, like me, you have never given a moments notice to that often crowded and confusing place you call home (and by ‘home’ we more-often-than-not mean nothing more than the place we first entered the world or are teleported back to in times of grid crash) then maybe it’s about time you just spent a few minutes inspecting**** who made it and finding out a little more about how it all came to be. If you find a good one, drop a SLURL in the comments and let’s all go exploring and appreciating some oft-overlooked resident built goodness 🙂

Oooo, me old horns are tingling… I feel a new travelogue coming on here… Backpacking Burro’s Guide to Infohubs!

HBA

****

* What about the night? No one ever refers to back in the night – why?

** Well it was but at a cost and not anywhere like we have now. It’s complicated and I think it was part of an economic brake on resource usage.

*** I’ll have to ask her about that.

**** PC users – Right click on something and cycle through the pie-wheel-thing until you see INSPECT. Mac users – Fek knows, I’ve never used one and can’t afford one. Actually, here is a great video tutorial about it from Torley,

Bay City: A Night At The Asylum

As you can’t have failed to have noticed, the LDPW’s first project has opened and Bay City is full of eager explorers just dying to see what the moles have been beavering* away at all these weeks. And me, Janey and Pinks are no different 🙂

I had limited time so decided to we just had to see the creepy sounding old asylum people had been raving about on the forums. And creepy is the perfect word!
Bay City Assylum

We rode up to the front gates, but our brave mounts would go no further…
Bay City Assylum

So we continued on foot…
The Three Explorers

Inside we found all the trappings of a decaying hulk that once housed many unhappy souls. Evidence of their treatment was everywhere…
Light Reading

Dr Linden's Special Pills

In the wards and treatment rooms voices whispered and echoed around us, lights flickered, doors creaked…
Padded Cell

Bay City Fear

Burro in the Attic

Quite honestly it was quite a relief when we emerged once more into the morning light and I felt the reassuring presence of Frank carrying me away to adventures new…
Me & Frank in Bay City

Head on over to Bay City yourself and take a look around before the auctions kick in. Meanwhile read more about Bay City on the SL Forums here and for Janey’s report on the trip to the asylum, visit her blog here.

* Moles? Beavering away? Is that legal?

CNN iReporter’s Field Trip of Fun

CNN (25th March 08) 1


This week’s CNN iReport meeting was a welcome break from the norm. Not that the norm is not welcome, just that a break from it can be just as welcome if not more so, unless it is not a good break then it can be less so, sometimes by several degrees… where was I?

Oh yes, field trip. That was the CNN iReport team’s idea for this week’s meeting. Get us all to go out en masse and explore a few exciting sims in order to get our creative juices flowing and our story sniffing noses er, well, sniffing!

First of all we headed out to The Far Away, a much talked about build by in-world artist AM Radio. Set in a mythic mid-western American prairie wheat field where memories and fragments of the American dream intersect and interact, you find yourself drifting away from yourself to somewhere far, far away. Everyone had a great time in this magical place and I, for one, will be going back several times to experience its beauty.

Gathering in the wheat…
Postcard from Second Life.

Burro and the light…
Postcard from Second Life.

Next we all headed off to see The Statue of Liberty, an amazing feat of engineering as the whole giant structure is built from only 22 prims (prims being the basic building blocks of everything in SL). The secret of this achievement is the use of a special kind of building block called a sculptie that, as the name implies, can be sculpted to look like something thereby saving the need to use many small prims to construct it. It is, for all intents and purposes, the difference between Lego and modelling clay.

Rezzing…
Postcard from Second Life.

Rezzing…
Postcard from Second Life.

Rezzed! Oh arse! I fell off!
I fell!

After we all gathered at the good lady’s torch for a photo opportunity that is most definitely not available in real life, we all headed off for the last location of the evening, the innocuously titled Clock Island which turned out to be an insanely brilliant build that would have made Dali himself smile, twist his moustache and get a round of drinks in. A vast hourglass drip drip drips away clockface numbers as others roam the land and seas about you and flutter though the air around you. Nothing I say can prepare you for this place – you have to go and see it for yourself… just keep an eye on the clock 😉

The long journey from arrival up…
Postcard from Second Life.

… to the top of the hourglass…
Postcard from Second Life.

…where we gathered for a group shot!
Postcard from Second Life.

P.S. Here is this report on the CNN iReport site 🙂